Saturday, September 11, 2010

My mouse project painting in acrylic...step by step from start to finish

I thought Craig Nelson cured me of painting more than a decade ago.
Meridee took me to his very popular week long painting class at the beautiful Asilomar conference center in Pacific Grove, California.
After spending a week hunched over a tiny easel (my easel!) on a very uncomfortable chair (my chair!) for about 12 hours a day I could hardly stand up straight again for a month.

That week didn't turn me into a painter, it turned me into a garden gnome!

I vowed to put away my brushes and never go near a paint tube again...

But after all the wonderful mouse paintings I'm seeing from everyone, I was inspired to:-
• unearth my old acrylics (they were buried under a bunch of carpet underlay foam in a big old cardboard box),
• re-acquaint myself with my old brushes (carefully stored in a plastic bag in case of emergencies) and
• give it a go.

I'd spent much longer messing about with paint brushes before I moved on to sculpting, so I was quite curious to see if I could remember how to make those odd little sticks with the hairy ends work!

After setting up my mice I borrowed a trick from Claudia Hammer using duct tape and some string to help scribble my mice onto a piece of masonite.

Here's how the painting progressed...

I used a Sharpie to sketch in the shapes...

I started in monochrome, exaggerating highlights and focusing on silhouettes.

Then I added a bit of modeling and brightened the shadows.

It's starting to look a bit ghostly now! John Watkiss teaches a method of painting where you alternate between scumbles and glazes. The scumbles have a very softening effect, so you have to be overly angular and sharp with the transparent paint to compensate for it.

Another thing he says is that you must not be scared to lose your painting in the process. 
You have to find it again later. 
Gulp...Here goes....

Ewww! Well that surely needs finding again!

A background re-paint and some more back and forth on the mice and it's starting to look respectable, I was very relieved to discover... 

I snagged a frame from Meridee, since I found one that happened to be 16"x20" in a pile of other sizes.

Those mice clean up quite nicely after all!

I didn't get the level of crispness in some of the strokes I would have liked, but all in all a fairly decent effort, if I'm allowed to say so myself!

Both Craig Nelson and John Watkiss will be turning in mouse paintings soon, and I for one am dying to see them!

Click HERE for more Mouse Project posts.

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille


Diana Moses Botkin said...

Wow, what fun to come to your blog! I love the mouse project and it looks like you haven't forgotten how to paint, or draw either.

Steve sculpts critters said...

Thanks Diana,
My drawing hand keeps in practice since I'm scribbling storyboards for a living a lot of the time.
But I was glad to still know which end of the paint brush to use!

beckielboo said...

I am so excited to see your painting. This project would have been sadly lacking if you didn't play, too!